We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who served as our President between 1952 and 2011. His deep commitment to public service and conservation represents the very best of the RSA’s values.
As our in-house historian, Anton Howes, has detailed in his history of the RSA, Prince Philip once stated that the RSA, at its best, was ‘forward-looking and practical’.
We believe this statement exemplifies his own 59-year contribution to our organisation and wider society as President. He would refer to the RSA as ‘my RSA’, underlining a deep commitment to the Society and its endeavours.
His achievements include:
- Convening conservationists at the Society as he supported the development in the 1950s and 1960s of the Wildfowl Trust and World Wildlife Fund.
- Through the RSA, he supported the growing conservation movement, instigating a series of conservation conferences at the Society. This work was a critical catalyst for the development of the environmental and conservation movement in the UK and beyond.
- Under his stewardship and direction, the RSA hosted conferences on industrial chemicals and cancer, fertility of the soil, world population, fishing, farming, forestry, water conservation, renewable energy, acid rain, and the role of industry in caring for the environment. These were all ahead of their time and engaged industry, Government, academia and campaigners to look for practical steps forward.
- Prince Philip personally presided over an RSA committee for the environment convened in 1971. The committee included members such as Max Nicholson (co-founder of the WWF) and David Attenborough.
- He suggested the establishment of Future Policy of the Society Committee that widened the RSA’s reach into the UK’s regions and civil society.
- Later on, he asked the RSA to devote attention to design in support of the elderly.
Our thoughts are with our patron, HM The Queen, our President, the Princess Royal, and the wider Royal Family at this time. We are indebted to the energy Prince Philip devoted to the RSA, measurably improving its ability to look forward and help improve wider society in the process. We are eternally grateful.
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of HRH Prince Philip, the RSA’s President from 1952 -2011. The Duke of Edinburgh met many RSA Fellows in his time as President. If you are one of them and would like to share a memory, please leave a comment below. We are also gratefully accepting donations in memory of His Royal Highness, which will support our continued work.